Archive for the ‘Personal Watercraft’ Category

Deadly Collision

November 7, 2007

Long Truong v. Cu Van Nguyen (California)
(Woman Died in Watercraft Collision on Lack; Court Ruled Primary Assumption of the Risk Barred Negligent Operation Claim and There was No Evidence of Negligent Entrustment)

The plaintiff was a passenger on a personal watercraft being operated on a lake. She was killed in a collision with another personal watercraft. Decedent’s parents filed a lawsuit alleging that the other rider was negligent in the operation of the personal watercraft and that the owner of the watercraft had negligently entrusted the watercraft to the other rider. The defendants filed a motion for summary judgment arguing that the primary assumption of the risk doctrine precluded negligence liability because they had no duty to protect the decedent from the risks inherent in the activity of riding on a personal watercraft. Defendants also argued that there was no evidence of negligent entrustment. The trial court granted defendants’ motion, and the plaintiffs appealed.

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Ignorance–Not So Bliss

July 11, 2007

Tassinari v. Key West Water Tours (Florida-UNPUBLISHED)
(Personal Watercraft Collision Victims Sue Alleging Violation of Florida Watercraft Statutes; Federal Court Finds Negligence Per Se; Waiver and Release Ineffective Regarding Violations of Statute)

The defendant watercraft rental agency rented a personal watercraft to the plaintiffs near Key West, Florida. The agency then took a group of personal watercraft renters, including the plaintiffs and third-party defendant Jeffrey Wilkerson, on a guided tour from its marina out to the area’s surrounding waters. During the tour, the watercraft operated by Wilkerson collided with the watercraft operated by plaintiffs, injuring the plaintiffs.

After a lawsuit was filed, the agency filed a motion for summary judgment arguing: (1) it was entitled to exoneration from liability because there was no evidence of negligence or unseaworthiness; (2) alternatively, it was entitled to have its liability limited to the value of the watercraft (approximately $3,000.00) because it was without privity or knowledge of any negligence or unseaworthiness; (3) Florida statutory law did not apply; and (4) the claim of one plaintiff claims was barred by the waiver and “hold harmless” provisions of the rental agreement that he signed. The plaintiffs also filed a motion for summary judgment, arguing that they were entitled to judgment because the agency violated certain Florida State statutes making the agency negligent per se. The plaintiffs also argue that if the agency is negligent per se, then the agency was not entitled to have its liability limited to the value of the watercraft.

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